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Anaheim Ducks' Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano are part of a human pile-up in front of the Chicago net along with Blackhawks' Sheldon Brookbank during the first period in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/MCT)

With Kane attending grandfather's funeral, Blackhawks will need a little more from everyone in trip finale

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There wasn't much Patrick Kane's teammates could do or say that would make Kane feel better after the winger learned his grandfather Donald had died.

For the most part, they gave him space and let him get ready as best he could for the Hawks' games against the Kings and Ducks.

"I'm sure he's pretty emotional," goaltender Corey Crawford said Thursday. "It's really hard. You can't really say too much.

"Everyone takes it differently, but I think he knows we're all very supportive of him. He's a good buddy of ours. We just want him to go home, see his family and be with them right now."

Kane did just that. He flew to Buffalo, N.Y., to be with his family for his grandfather's funeral Friday. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 miles away, the Blackhawks were preparing to take on the middling Coyotes without Kane and hoping to head into the Olympic break with another victory on a trip that has been successful thus far.

"We've had a really good trip, very professional, very business-like," coach Joel Quenneville said of the Hawks' 3-0-2 mark. "We have some momentum going into this game. We want to make sure we try to take care of business Friday and prepare the way we have every game on this trip."

But that won't be so easy without Kane, who hasn't missed a game this season. At practice Thursday, Brandon Saad replaced Kane on the second line alongside Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg.

"Kaner gives you so many different looks and options, that versatility is something," Quenneville said. "We probably can move Saad up a little bit, see what he does in that situation. Whether he gets a little bit more ice time or not, we'll see."

Kane's teammates still were marveling over the way he was able to play Monday against the Kings, scoring two goals and notching an assist in the 5-3 victory just hours after learning of his grandfather's death.

After that game, he broke down when speaking about the impact his grandfather had on his life.

On Wednesday, he took the ice against the Ducks and registered three shots on goal in the Hawks' 2-0 victory. After the funeral Friday, he will head to Sochi, Russia, to join the U.S. men's team at the Olympics.

"Moments like that make you realize there's more to life than hockey, and family is far and away the most important," captain Jonathan Toews said. "You could tell after that game when we found out what was going on in L.A., Kaner was playing with a lot of emotion, a lot of determination. It's not an easy thing to do. It's pretty amazing to see the game that he played (Monday)."

Now it's on the rest of the Blackhawks to step up without him.

"You can't really plug a guy in and have him bring the same thing Kaner brings," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "He's such a special player and it's tough to do that. It's going to have to be a team effort."

One-timers: Quenneville said Johnny Oduya (lower-body injury) was doubtful for Friday's game. Oduya's consecutive streak of 124 games ended Wednesday. Per usual on this trip, Marian Hossa did not practice Thursday but is expected to play Friday while Crawford will start in net. ... For the second time in four years, the Blackhawks will play an exhibition game in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, against the Oilers, the team announced. ... Blackhawks President John McDonough, executive vice president Jay Blunk, general manager Stan Bowman, senior executive director of marketing Pete Hassen and senior director of communications Brandon Faber made the trip to Buffalo for Donald Kane's funeral.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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